International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Karigiri (later Schieffelin Leprosy Research and Training Centre)


    Category Leprosarium
    Country India
    Address Madras Presidency
    Current Address Tamil Nadu


    BELRA/LEPRA workers associated with this centre:-

    Dr Bob Cochrane, doctor, 1942-1947
    Dr Paul Brand, surgeon, 1961
    Mr Bill Lennox, surgeon, 1962-1966

    Information supplied by LEPRA

    In 1955, Schieffelin Leprosy Research Sanatorium, Karigiri consisted of a small hospital with seventeen beds, a research laboratory, a few staff houses and cottages for patients. The function of the institution was to observe study and investigate various types of leprosy, to treat medical and surgical complications and to train workers for full-time leprosy work.

    A Place of Hope and Healing: The Karigiri Story Usha Jesudasan

    A small group of dedicated young staff: Dr Ernest Fritschi, Dr R H Thangaraj, and Dr C K Job followed in the footsteps of Dr Brand and Dr Gass. (Jesudasan, p. 8)

    Out patient clinics became very popular. It was the first time that many patients has any kind of attention shown to them, that they were even acknowledged or called by their name. There were three outpatient days and on each day a hundred to a hundred and fifty patients were seen. There were between ten to thirty cases a day. The young doctors who came all the way from Christian Medical College for these outpatient clinics worked tirelessly and with great energy and enthusiasm. Dr Ernest Fritschi became Karigiri’s first resident surgeon.

    Patient numbers kept increasing every year. Within five years in 1960, young Dr Job reported to the Christian Medical College – Karigiri Association that around two hundred patients were seen and treated every day. The number of ulcers taken care of too was increasing. The entire out patient department was under the care of one trained nurse. The operation theatre with two and a half days operating time was looked after by Arumugam, a young, locally trained technician, who later on also had nursing training. The Medical and Surgical wards with fifteen patients each was looked after by only one trained nurse. The cottages housed about a hundred and twenty patients, many of them with ulcers which needed care. There was a request for two more nurses … slowly the hospital expanded.

    Although Karigiri was not begun as a hospital to look after those suffering from leprosy, it quickly became one.

    Leprosaria - Historical References
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